Q: “To maximise SEO, what are the essential elements for the content of my webpages and articles?”

Writing for the web is different from writing for print. Space is not an issue for web (but writing concisely is still important), and the content can be much more engaging and interactive.

To maximise the SEO of your webpages and articles be sure to include the following 15 elements:

  1. Decide the keyword phrase you are optimising this page for
    • Be sure to use this phrase in the url, Meta Title, Meta Description and first paragraph of your content
    • “What’s a url?” It stands for uniform resource locator. Its the location or address of your webpage such as creativeq.co.nz/search-engine-optimisation-seo
    • “What is a Meta Title?” It’s the sentence in the code of your website that summaries your content in 60 characters or less. It appears as a big blue link in Google Search Results pages
    • “What is a Meta Description?” It’s another, slightly longer sentence in the code of your website that summaries your content in 160 characters or less that Google often includes under the link to your website on the Google Search Results page
  2. Use long descriptive headlines
    • Many readers like to skim web content very quickly and well written headlines give them the summaries they need to pause and read more detail or to move on to the next section
  3. Use sub headings and sub-sub headings to break up content
  4. Use bullet points and numbered lists
    • Short, punchy bullet points are easy to digest, and divides content into easily managed chunks
    • There is nothing more boring to a user than a long paragraph of text, it screams “I’m too long to read!”
  5. Use very short paragraphs
    • 1 sentence paragraphs on the web are fine (they are frowned upon in print)
    • 2 sentence, and 3 sentence paragraphs are good
    • 4 or more sentences in a paragraph is no good
  6. Use internal hyperlinks
    • If you have another webpage or article on your site that explains a phrase or idea in more detail, link to it
    • It’s good for the user because they know where they can go next, and its good for search engines
    • Instead of linking with the phrase “find out more” or “read more”, hyperlink the entire phrase
    • Ensure that the majority of readers understand that the links are clickable by using Google’s default blue and underlined style if your design allows it. Set the “visited” style to Google’s purple to provide a visual clue to readers that they have visited pages in the past
  7. If you use jargon or acronyms common in your industry…
    • Don’t assume everyone knows what they mean, or that they can be bothered looking them up
    • Explain them in brackets a few times in the content
  8. Include a Table of Contents
    • Which provides a list of clickable headings on the page so users can jump down to the sections they want to read
  9. Include a FAQs section
    • With actual questions people might be searching for. Google loves these sections
  10. Use occasional bolding and italics to emphasise
    • But don’t over do it!
  11. Use images, photos and diagrams
    • They break up the monotony of page after page of text
  12. Provide a video
    • Videos are so engaging and are the preferred method of consuming content for many people
    • You could convert your page or article into a video in the form of a slideshow voiced-over by you, to walk viewers through your main points. Or, you might prefer to record a head-and-shoulders video from a pre-written script
  13. Provide a download
    • Provide a downloadable version of the content on your page or a more indepth report. Ask for an email address so you can follow up with them later
  14. Sprinkle in a few testimonials from your happy clients
    • As pull-out quotes or in the sidebar
  15. Include a call-to-action
    • At the bottom of the page, encourage readers to take one of the following actions:
      • Call your phone number, click on your email address or fill in a form
      • Engage with you for your products and services
      • Sign up for your email list (provide them with a reason such as “instant access to our free report” instead of just “to get news from us”)
      • Proceed to your contact page
      • Watch a video or download a document
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